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Expert Chef Reveals Kitchen Tricks and Time Saving Food Hacks

Expert Chef Reveals Kitchen Tricks and Time Saving Food Hacks

On my maiden trip to Nagpur, I realized that the city has a lot more offer beyond its commercial portfolio of being the 'Orange City' and the 'Tiger Capital of India'. It is home to zero mile stone (a sandstone pillar said to be at the geographical center of India) and the one and only diamond crossing (point where two railway lines cross forming the shape of diamonds at the crossing point) in India. The one at Nagpur is a Double Diamond Railway crossing, formed by two double lines crossing each other. Since Nagpur is in the center and works as link to other cities and states, it is diverse in its offerings when it comes to food. One can find delicacies from all four corners of India. During my weekend stay at Le Meredien, Nagpur, I was introduced to local flavors and delicacies by Executive Chef Vinod Dhawle, who was kind enough to bring Kadaknath, a premium indigenous breed of chicken popular for its black meat, a new superfood on the rise for its health benefits. Kadaknath has black feathers, beak and feet. It's meat, which is also black in color, has more protein and its fat content is a meager 1% as compared to 13-25% in other breeds.

And my marvel didn't end there. When I headed for breakfast the next day, I was introduced to a slew of fusion food items conceptualized in a stellar way. Chef Dhawle revealed the thought process behind the signature breakfast spread. He said "At Le Meredien, we create signature breakfast with 1 carbohydrate , 1 chicken and 2 egg items in breakfast, and the recipe for each item should include local ingredients. So, I surveyed to find the favourite local breakfast item in Nagpur and it turned out to be Poha, served with chana rassa or tari (curry)."

To add some novelty and freshness, I presented Poha in coconut flavored crepes, along with the curry on side. We asked Chef Dhawle to share the recipe of signature dishes since the festive season is approaching near and many of us would want to explore and experiment with new and interesting dishes and he revealed his best-kept secrets.

Dhawle's innovative fusion creations also include:

1) Saoji Croissant Sandwich
Saoji is the regional cuisine from Vidharbh region in Maharashtra. Basically, it is the spicy chicken cooked with a combination of regional spices. It is a semi-liquid gravy,so to prepare the regional dish using chicken , I fusion with continental croissant bread so to twist the recipe we prepared dry saoji Chicken and again I used the the coleslaw continental salad as the filling and kept the garnish traditional using Saoji masala and veggies as seen in the picture .

2) Cottage Cheesecake with Gulab Jamun

Cottage cheese - 1 KG
Sugar - 500 gms
Eggs - 15
Fresh cream - 1 litre
Gulab Jamun - 5-6 pieces

1) Greate cottage cheese into a mixture of sugar, eggs and Amul's fresh cream and mix it with an electric whip, starting at the lowest setting and gradually moving to the highest.
2) Butter the baking tray and pour the mix until it covers one inch of the tray. Arrange the gulab jamuns in the tray and the pour in the remaining mix till the gulab jamuns are completely covered.
3) Heat the oven to 180 degree celsius and bake the cake in a double broiler (that is place your baking tray inside a bigger tray that is filled with 2 centimeters of water.) Bake it for half an hour and refrigerate it till cold.

3) Indianized Pizza : Pizza base with toppings of tamarind chutney topped with drops of green mint coriander chutney topped with potato dosa bhaji ,sprinkle with khatta meetha farsan or chivda and garnished with little amount of some processed cheese and baked in the oven.

Before we share the recipe of food mash-ups, here is a interesting food tricks chef Dhawle swears by. He says the secret ingredient to make any fried item crispy is to add malt vinegar to the frying batter. The end product will be very crisp and crunchy.

For the upcoming festive season, where time seems limited and guests unlimited, Chef Dhawle shares the recipe of five dishes that can be made within 15 minutes.

1)Bacon Banana Roll: Take a 3-inch banana piece. Wrap it with bacon and cook it in non-stick pan until you see a golden brown colour. Serve hot.

2) Deep Fried sausage: Slit the sausage into two pieces, make a 1 cm deep cut on both sides. Dilute red chilli powder, turmeric powder and pepper powder in 2 teaspoons of water and fill it in the slits. Keep the sausages aside for 2 minutes until the spice mix smears well. Then deep fry and serve with tomato ketchup.
3 )Fried egg cheese toast:
a)Take a slice of bread and make a dent in the middle of the bread in the shape of a circle with the crusts intact.
b) Toast the bread to a light brown colour and the break an egg in the hollow. Make sure that the yolk does not break. Place the break and the egg in the oven for 15 minutes.
c) Sprinkle grated cheese over the top and bake the toast again for 3 minutes till the cheese is a light brown shade.
d) Cut the toast into four triangles and serve hot with tomato ketchup or tabasco sauce, if you like it spicy.
4) Chocolate stuffed pancake: Make pancake batter with 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, 3 tsp baking powder, 4 tbsp sugar, a pinch of salt, 1 large egg and 1 cup of milk. Now, put a ladle of batter in a non-stick pan to make separate chocolate discs. Add a teaspoon of chocolate in the middle and one more spoon on top and turn the side. Cook it. When you cut in middle, you will see chocolate sauce oozing out .

5) Salmon mix cream cheese in soft baguette
a) Take an eight or six inch soft or hard baguette as per your requirement and cut it in halves.
b) Use a teaspoon or a vegetable scooper to make a deep hole in the side of the baguette. Take care that the sides remain intact.
c) Chop the smoked salmon and finely chop the onions and the dill leaves and mix it together with cream cheese. (you can also use fresh cream to get the required consistency)
d) Apply apple-honey mustard inside the hole you carved out from the baguette earlier and stuff it with the salmon-onion-cheese mixture using a spoon or a piping bag.
e) Refrigerate the stuffed baguette till cool and cut disks 2 cm thick.
f) Arrange the slices in the plate and serve with honey mustard dressing.

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